- Museum number
Series: Urban Landscapes I
Front of Grant's diner, New York. 1972
- Production date
Height: 356 millimetres (image)
Height: 500 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 515 millimetres
Width: 700 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This is one of eight screenprints from 'Urban Landscapes I' published by Parasol Press, New York in an edition of 75 plus 25 artist's proofs (lettered). It was printed under the supervision of Luitpold Domberger of the screenprint workshop Domberger KB in Stuttgart, Germany. All the stencils were handcut.
Text from Coppel, Daunt and Tallman, 'The American Dream: pop to the present', London: Thames and Hudson in association with the British Museum, 2017, cat. no. 118:
In 1972, four years after his breakthrough exhibition of photorealist paintings at the Allan Stone Gallery, Estes produced his first portfolio of eight colour screenprints entitled 'Urban Landscapes'. With the exception of one, all are New York subjects and all focus on the shifting reflections on the façades of ordinary diners, restaurants, hardware stores and on the gleaming plate-glass windows of anonymous corporate offices. These American urban landscapes are devoid of hurrying figures and congested traffic yet the façades with their signage are replete with an implied presence of people eating, shopping and working. In this world of clean, hard edges, rectilinear gridding and fractured reflections playing on different visual planes there is no urban detritus to distract the viewer from Estes’ reconstructed reality.
The prints were commissioned by the New York print publisher Parasol Press and produced in Stuttgart, Germany, at the screenprint workshop of Domberger, renowned for the technical precision of its hand-cut stencils and subtle colour printing. None of the prints is based on a corresponding painting. Instead Estes worked from detailed maquettes in gouache from one or more of his photographs. These were sent to Domberger who cut stencils on top of a black-and-white photograph of the maquette, with the workshop breaking down the image into fifteen to twenty colours. Several colours could be printed at the same time by distributing inks over different parts of the screen. While the laborious cutting of the stencils was left to the highly skilled technicians, Estes closely supervised the proofing and build-up of colour layers, with transparent inks being applied to modify or tone down a hue.
An intermittent printmaker, Estes made two further portfolios of 'Urban Landscapes', each containing eight screenprints produced at Domberger and published by Parasol Press in 1979 and 1981. Estes explained the appeal of the technique: ‘It seemed to me that silkscreen was very clean – sharp layers and opaque inks. I could work in layers, which is more or less the way I paint. It seemed closer to the way I work, starting out very broad, with masses of color, and adding on top of it. There’re limitations. The cut film gives a hard, sharp line, but even that seems appropriate to the way I work.’ (John Arthur, ‘Richard Estes: The Urban Landscape in Print’ (interview), 'Print Collector’s Newsletter', 10:1 (March–April 1979), pp. 12–15 (p. 15).)
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2017 9 Mar-18 Jun, London, BM, G30, The American Dream
2018 2 Jun-2 Sept, Paris, Fondation Custodia, The American Dream: pop to the present
2020-21 8 Oct-31 Jan, Madrid, La Caixa Forum, The American Dream: pop to the present
2021 2 Mar-13 Jun, Barcelona, La Caixa Forum, The American Dream: pop to the present
2021 13 Jul-14 Nov, Zaragoza, La Caixa Forum, The American Dream: pop to the present
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number